You know what they say: Even a broken clock is right twice a day. It’s hard to believe this, but I actually agree with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on something. She and some other left-wing activists agree with me that the treatment of Paul Manafort is an abuse of government power.
Here’s what AOC tweeted on Tuesday: “Paul Manafort is being sent to solitary confinement in my district – Rikers Island. A prison sentence is not a license for gov torture and human rights violations. That’s what solitary confinement is. Manafort should be released, along with all people being held in solitary.
Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King tweeted this: “I see people excited to see Paul Manafort sent to Rikers Island and put in solitary confinement. 1. Rikers Island should be closed down. 2. Solitary confinement should be ended. We must be so principled in our calls for reform that we want them even for our enemies.”
(It should be noted that the initial New York Times headline about Manafort facing solitary confinement has since been corrected to say he’s being held in “isolation,” and could be placed in “protective custody” away from the general inmate population, but that doesn’t preclude him being placed in solitary in the future.)
AOC later corrected her tweet, but made it clear that like King, her real problem is with solitary confinement in general, for anyone. I must acknowledge that there might be cases in which the inmate poses such a grave threat to others that solitary confinement is the only solution. No, what I was saying is that Paul Manafort doesn’t belong at Rikers AT ALL.
We should not be arguing about whether Manafort should be in “solitary” or in “insolation” or in “protective custody” away from the many dangerous inmates at Rikers. Nor should anyone with a conscience condone releasing him into the general population there, as he would likely not survive. Manafort is a threat to no one and belongs in a minimum-security facility for non-violent offenders, period.
Still, AOC and I did have a point of agreement. Thanks to Shannon Bream for reporting on her tweet Wednesday night. Who would have thought it? Trump-hating officials inside the government bureaucracy have done something so shameful, so staggeringly awful that it actually brought Mike Huckabee and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez together on something.